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In 1995, Naina got admission in a college in Shillong. She was good in her studies, and taken the B.Com course, and proved very clever in all the subjects. In every exam she scored high marks, and used her full potential in learning the subject and adding to her knowledge from surfing on the internet.
In the summer holidays of 1996, she had gone home and then decided to go on a trekking trip in the hills of Darjeeling. She saddled her horse, and attached the horse trailer, to the jeep, and let the horse in and secured it. Their driver drove the 4 wheeler and they drove to the hills, and it took a long time for them to reach the point on the hill, from where she wanted to race her horse down the hill, along the river The flow of the river was quite slow and steady. The trees gently swayed in the cool breeze.
Naina told her driver, "You may take rest in the jeep, till I come back from my ride. She took his phone number, and gave him, her mobile number, and she jumped on to the saddle, and started down the hill, alongside the river bank. It was around 10.00 in the morning.
At the beginning she spurred the horse with her stirrup, and the horse started to gallop. She had worn jodhpurs and riding boots, and on the head, she had a safety helmet and tinted visors. She was about thirteen feet above the ground, and as the horse started to pick speed, her hair started to fly in the breeze, and she enjoyed the ride. She had put her mobile in her back pocket, and as the horse started to gallop faster, it protruded slightly, but she was not aware of it. She went on riding down the bank of the river for about an hour, and then decided to rest the horse, and tied it to a tree, and sat on the banks of the river, on a tree branch, which was jutting out about four feet from the ground. She watched the birds swoop down, and catch a fish here and there, and they made all sorts of sounds, which filled the noon scene in the wooded landscape, with tall trees, and low brushes.
She walked in the brushes after resting a while, and started picking berries and popped them in her mouth. When she had rested for some time, she decided to move ahead, and went riding for another one hour, and again she stopped, and took her luch box and thermos flask, and had her lunch. She spread some dry leaves on the ground, and spread some pines from the casuarina trees, and lay down, for a nap. The horse was tied to a long rope and so that it could graze on the grass that was growing on the ground.
She slept for more than two hours, and when she got up, she was wondering whether to go down hill or not. She went down again, around 4 in the after noon, and the horse leaped over protruding branches, and she was thrilled, as her veins were coursing with adrenalin. The more she got spirited, the faster speed the horse took, till she was going at full speed. Suddenly, she saw a gorge where the river water fell down in a roar. She dismounted from the horse, and put her hand behind to her hip pocket to retrieve her mobile phone. To her dismay, she found that it had dropped somewhere along the way, but she had not inkling at which place it might have fallen. She had no way she could get in touch with her driver.
She decided to return, and turned the horse, after resting for some time, near the ravine, and then mounted the horse, and was back ascending the hilly terrain. As she was galloping, the sun started to set, and it was getting late. She did not know, whether to proceed, or to rest, on the same bed she had made on the way down. She tied the horse, and as the sun was going down and the moon appeared, she lay down again to sleep, after drinking some water from her flask.
The driver was anxious to know where Naina was, as he did not receive any call from her. He tried to call her all through the after noon, and then as the sun was setting, he was afraid what Anjali Madam would say, so he called home, and asked her what he should do. Knowing Naina's feats, she was sure that she would find her way back, so she told him, to come back.
As the sun rose in the morning Naina was woken up by the chirping birds, and she rubbed her eyes, and brushed her hair, and decided to go uphill, but she was not able to locate the jeep, and she went up and up, till she arrived at a village. There were some farmers, and people milling around. She asked them if they could give her directions to the town. She also asked if there was a telephone nearby. The villagers directed her to the post office, and she rode to the place, where she found a telephone. She requested the postmaster to allow her to make a call, and told her that her driver had gone back, and she did not carry money. The gentleman, was decent and allowed her to call home. Her mother Anjali was not at home. The maid took the phone and answered. Naina instructed the maid to send the driver with the horse trailer, to the post office and she gave the address to her of the location.
In an hour after she had made the call, the driver arrived with his jeep. Naina was dead tired, and the horse too had a tough time with her. The driver led the horse into the trailer, and she got into the front seat, and the driver took her home. She reached in time for lunch, and by that time, she had taken her bath, and changed into fresh clothes, and waited for her mother to come for lunch.
She narrated to her mother, all her experiences of the previous day and night, and how she had dropped her mobile somewhere down the track, and was handicapped. The mother told her, the importance of taking care of a telephone, as she had learnt from practical experience, and told her to carry a bag, to keep these important things in a safe place with her while going on rides. She also told her the necessity to keep on her body, the identification of herself, and the home address, so that if she was in a situation where she could not communicate, others could find out whom they had to call.
This experience made a lasting impression on this young girl. She was already, hardened by the tough life she had to lead, at home, in the hills, and in the school. She finished her holidays, and again as the new year reopened, went back to the college.
Edited by walquest2000 - 17 September 2011 at 7:26am